Annie Silverstein’s feature debut “Bull” swept three awards at the 45th Deauville American Film Festival, including the Grand Prize, the Revelation Prize for best first film and the Critics’ Prize.
“Bull,” a portrait of a rebellious teenage girl from South Texas, world premiered at Cannes’s Un Certain Regard and marks Silverstein’s follow up to her short “Skunk” which won Cannes’s Cinéfondation prize in 2014. The movie follows the relationship between a troubled adolescent from West of Houston whose mother is in jail and an ageing African American bullfighter. “Bull” is represented in international markets by Film Constellation, while 30WEST reps North American rights. Bert Marcus Film financed the film.
The Jury prize, meanwhile, was shared between Michael Angelo Covino’s “The Climb,” and Robert Eggers “The Lighthouse,” a hallucinatory thriller starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe as two lighthouse keepers on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s. A24, which co-financed “The Lighthouse” with New Regency, will distribute the film in North America, while Focus Features has international rights.
“The Climb,” another feature debut, is a buddy comedy centering on two best friends who share a close bond — until one sleeps with the other’s fiancée. The movie follows their tumultuous, but enduring friendship. Like “Bull,” “The Climb” world premiered at Un Certain Regard where it won the Heart Prize (alongside “A Brother’s Love”). Sony Pictures Classics has worldwide rights to the film, excluding France and German-speaking Europe. Metropolitan FilmExport will handle the French release.
This year’s Deauville jury was presided by French actress Catherine Deneuve and included Claire Burger, Valéria Golino, Vicky Krieps, Antonin Baudry, Jean-Pierre Duret, Gaël Morel, Orelsan, Nicolas Saada and Gaspard Ulliel.
Carlo Mirabella-Davis’ “Swallow,” a bold thriller about a pregnant housewife who develops an emotional disorder leading her to ingest dangerous objects, received the Special Prize. Upon receiving the award, Mirabella-Davis said “Swallow” was a feminist film and an homage to his grand-mother who was institutionalized by her husband into a mental hospital and lobotomized. IFC Films has U.S. rights to “Swallow.”
The Audience Prize was awarded to Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz’s “The Peanut Butter Falcon” which stars Shia LaBeouf. The film, which previously won the Audience Award at the SXSW Film Festival, follows an outlaw fisherman who takes a young man with Down syndrome under his wing.
Ladj Ly’s Cannes Jury prize-winning drama “Les Miserables” received the Ornano-Valenti prize, an award given by critics for the best first French film of the year. Ly attended the ceremony with his leading actors Damien Bonnard, Alexis Manenti and Djibril Zonga. Amazon Studios scooped U.S. rights to the politically-charged film at Cannes.
The festival wrapped with the French premiere of Olivier Assayas’s “Wasp Network,” a Cuban spy thriller headlined by Penelope Cruz, Edgar Ramirez, Gael Garcia Bernal and Wagner Moura. Assayas received a surprised homage from the Deauville Festival during the closing ceremony which was handed out to him by the actress Anna Mouglalis who also presided the Revelation jury.